Tube condenser microphones are loved by many people because they are able to reproduce sounds with some warmth without needing any additional preamp. Plus, tube condenser mics tend to have a slimmer and more compact design compared to regular condenser mics. Now, if you are looking for the best tube condenser mic available over the market, you may have been advised to consider either Avantone CV 12 or Rode K2. Both of these models are quite popular right now. However, Rode K2 is quite more expensive than Avantone CV 12. So, which is the model that holds the best value for the money? Let us see!
Much like other tube condenser mics, Avantone CV 12 and Rode K2 both feature a slim and compact body. However, tube condenser mics also tend to be heavier than regular condenser mics due to the internal tube system. Avantone CV 12 and Rode K2 weigh roughly the same, around 1.8 lbs. Even so, putting the two models side by side, we can then notice that Avantone CV 12 is even slimmer than Rode K2. Avantone CV 12 has a diameter of 4.5 cm whereas Rode K2 has a diameter of 5.5 cm. Not a huge difference, indeed, especially since each product comes with each own carrying case. Avantone CV 12 comes with a bright red color while Rode K2 has a creamish off-white hue.
|Avantone CV 12||Rode K2|
|- Polar Pattern: 9 patterns selectable at power supply||- Polar Pattern: Cardioid, Figure 8, Omnidirectional|
|- Frequency Response: 25-20,000 Hz +/- 3dB||- Frequency Range: 20Hz - 20kHz|
|- Output Impedance: <=250 Ohms / transformer isolated||- Output Impedance: 200Ω|
|- Maximum SPL : 136dB (0.5% THD @1000Hz) 146dB with pad engaged||- Maximum SPL: 162dB SPL (@ 1kHz, 1% THD into 1KΩ load)|
|- Sensitivity: -35dB||- Sensitivity: -36.0dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (16.00mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz|
|- Equivalent noise level : <17dB||- Equivalent Noise Level (A-weighted): 10dB-A|
|- Weight: 1.8 lbs||- Weight 815.00gm|
|- Dimensions: 9.5" x 1.8"||- Dimensions 208.00mmH x 55.00mmW x 55.00mmD|
|- High-Pass: 80 Hz 6dB/octave Switch||- Active Electronics: Valve/tube impedance converter with bipolar output buffer|
|- Attenuation Switch: 10dB Switch||- Maximum Output Level: 30.0mV|
Both microphones here offer multiple polar patterns. Rode K2 features a continuous variable control for the polar pattern, which can be set from the included dedicated power supply. There are omnidirectional, cardioid, to figure-8 polar patterns available. On the other hand, Avantone CV 12 comes with nine polar pattern positions, which span from cardioid, omnidirectional, to figure-8 as well.
Avantone CV 12 comes with an 80Hz low cut filter and a -10dB pre-attenuation pad. These two features are not featured in Rode K2. Even though not crucial, the low cut filter is always a handy tool whenever you need to lower the level of low-frequency noise, such as breath sounds, wind sounds, and mechanical vibrations from handling.
However, even with its pre-attenuation pad turned on, Avantone CV 12 is still not able to provide a maximum SPL handling as high as Rode K2. Rode K2, indeed, boasts for having a very high maximum SPL handling of 162 dB SPL (at 1kHz, 1% THD into 1KΩ load), allowing you to take care of extreme sound levels with ease. Furthermore, Avantone CV 12 is also not as quiet as Rode K2. With a self-noise level of 17 dBA, Avantone CV 12 is not very quiet, especially compared to Rode K2 that boasts an equivalent noise level of barely 10 dBA. So, when we are talking about the cleanest recording quality, Rode K2 easily delivers the best performance. Need more comparison? Perhaps Rode NTK Vs K2 would be an equal.
Avantone CV 12 Vs Rode K2
In general, Rode K2 makes the best way to go. The ultra-low self-noise level is truly awesome, allowing you to capture sounds with the utmost cleanliness, accuracy, and crisp. Besides, the naturally very high maximum SPL handling also makes it a very versatile mic for various purposes.